Formula One’s new American owners have issued plans for expanding the appeal of the sport, though there has been disapproval from various teams. Among them was Ferrari which has issued an ultimatum to potentially exit formula 1.
This came 24 hours after Mercedes and Renault concern the engine proposals put forward for 2021 would open an arms race which would damage the sport.
Ferrari Chairman takes a stand
Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne claimed that while he had no problem against cost-cutting, some strategic issues would be against the interests of the tier one automaker and racer that would force it to consider going elsewhere. He also defiantly stated that of Formula One did not allow for a platform beneficial to the Ferrari brand and its market then it simply would not participate.
The chairman did concede that Liberty Media had good intentions for the sport including reduction of cost executions for the team. Some of the controversial aspects included that power-train uniqueness would not be a factor in the distinct nature of the participant line-up. Liberty Media wanted to level the playing field while rebalancing the revenues at the end of the team agreements expiring at the end of the decade. Proposals were issued for simpler and cheaper engines along with other changes to standardize the sport.
The sport has engineered some of the most creative, machine innovation since the beginnings of Autosport so it would be safe to say Ferrari is not alone in their concerns even though they have been the first to issue bold statements. Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul claimed there were advantages to standardization but it would create questions marks for Renault, especially which was an engine manufacturer and had been in Formula One for at least four decades.
Ferrari is not alone
Mercedes joined Renault saying that it would be hard put to stomach the development budgets being called upon by Liberty and the FIA. Toto Wolff told media outlets that he thought some of the areas could be debated, but the rest was not justifiable. Renault stated they would only consider spending millions on the new power units in the event there were big savings made elsewhere in the sport or if there was a competitive advantage aligned with its interests and one would imagine other teams felt the same way.
Ferrari boss Marchionne had no qualms about being the first Chief executive that would lead Ferrari out of the motorsport citing he did not want to play in a sandbox he could hardly recognize. Ferrari is one of the teams that pioneered the first Formula One Championships in 1950. It is also the most renown, accounting for multiple wins considering the Nikki Lauda era and thereafter Schumacher.
The team has accumulated 228 wins and 15 drivers’ titles. It has become an accepted fact that Ferrari has invested significantly and is responsible for a great deal in the sport. As such, it should not be surprising that Marchionne would want to keep things in the interest and spirit of how Formula One has always been. He claimed that he was already working on an alternative strategy to replace it as a viable Formula One as a viable platform for the company that would also be rational.